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N80bn Unclaimed Dividends: Banks, Registrars to Appoint E-Dividend Champions

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Godwin Emefiele on banking

As part of measures to address the rising trend of unclaimed dividends in the nation’s capital market, which has hit the N80 billion mark, banks and registrars have been mandated by both the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC to set up e-dividend champions in their respective institutions.

Also, work is underway to address overlapping functions between the Debt Management Office, DMO and SEC, just as the commission is to use moral suasion in attracting telecommunication companies, oil and gas and other blue chip companies to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE.

It was also gathered that the commission is canvassing for tax concessions that will attract more investment into the capital market.

The National Assembly is working closely with the DMO and SEC to address the overlapping functions observed in the discharge of duties by both organisations.

Specifically, the Director General of SEC, Munir Gwarzo confirmed that work is underway to address the overlapping functions in both institutions.

According to him “Very soon we will give you the details where there are overlapping functions between the two institutions.” The SEC DG further hinted that the CBN will also sanction banks that fail to comply with the free e-dividend mandate which is expected to end on 31st December 2016.

Gwarzo said attaching deadline to e-dividend registration was necessary to ensure compliance by investors, observing that any bank that fails to comply with free mandate processing on e-dividend will be duly sanctioned.

He said “SEC has been in the vanguard for people to register for e-dividends, but whenever you go to the bank or any of the registrars, people tend to be frustrated because there seems to be some misunderstanding between the banks and the registrars.

So, we had a very successful meeting last Monday where we had all the registrars, all the heads of operations of banks, we also got the Director of Payment System of the CBN and Director of NIBSS and we sat down and exhaustively discussed the issue and we resolved that each bank is going to appoint an e-dividend champion and CBN will as well direct the banks to have these e-dividend champions.

“The e-dividend champion will be the one that will liaise with the head of operation of each bank and every registrar is also expected to have e-dividend champion. We agreed that every Compliance Officer for every registrar will serve as e-dividend champion.

We also agreed that any time the registrar or the banks have any issue that requires clarification, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, NIBSS will provide the clarification. The registrars also agreed that whenever they have any issue with respect to identity of an investor, within three to four days, they will reach out to the bank or NIBSS.”

He explained that once an investors registers for e-dividend, the backlog of his/her unclaimed dividend that are not yet status-barred would be credited to his account by his registrar. He added that SEC would continue to underwrite the registration for e-dividend until December 2016, saying that registration after the stipulated timeline would attract a token fee.

As part of its advocacy programme, he said the commission has met with all the strata of the government in an effort to get their buy-in to the Capital Market Master Plan and recently with the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, with regards to considering tax concessions that will attract more investment into the capital market.

“The Capital Market Master Plan Implementation Committee, CAMIC, met the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; we also met the Governor of the Central Bank, the Attorney General of the Federation, and Speaker of the House of Representatives. This is to ensure that we have their buy-in because for you to be able to implement the Master Plan successfully, you need the buy-in of the executive, legislature and the judiciary.

“You will recall that in February this year, we had a two-day session with the judiciary in which we discussed with them what the capital is, what the SEC is and largely what the Investment and Securities Act, ISA, so that we can get their support and cooperation.

We also had a two-day session with the National Assembly; SEC partnered with the Committee on Capital Market both at the House of Representatives and Senate and we had a very successful outing. That is part of our advocacy strategy so that we have all the levels of government buy into the master Plan.”

“Just last Saturday, we had very successful meeting with the Minister of Finance and we had in attendant the chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, and the DG of Debt Management Office, DMO. For the last 30 – 40 years, the capital market has been clamouring for certain concessions with respect to tax and certain capital market products which we believe that will further enhance the development of the market” the SEC DG added.

“We have no other place to invest our little funds than in our market and that is why we are trying to cultivate your appetite and the only way to do that is to address some of these issues. Once these issues are addressed and the retail investor returns, we will be able to raise participation in the market from 2 per cent it is now to about 4 per cent in the next 10 years.”

Continuing he said “The BVN platform that is being provided for the e-Dividend will also enable us to implement other initiatives in the market. For instance with the BVN platform everyone that operates in this market as an investor will have his data within this system, so if anyone wants to defraud, it cannot be done. People cannot impersonate others as the platform will expose them.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Crude Oil

Dangote Mega Refinery in Nigeria Seeks Millions of Barrels of US Crude Amid Output Challenges

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Dangote Refinery

The Dangote Mega Refinery, situated near Lagos, Nigeria, is embarking on an ambitious plan to procure millions of barrels of US crude over the next year.

The refinery, established by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest individual, has issued a term tender for the purchase of 2 million barrels a month of West Texas Intermediate Midland crude for a duration of 12 months, commencing in July.

This development revealed through a document obtained by Bloomberg, represents a shift in strategy for the refinery, which has opted for US oil imports due to constraints in the availability and reliability of Nigerian crude.

Elitsa Georgieva, Executive Director at Citac, an energy consultancy specializing in the African downstream sector, emphasized the allure of US crude for Dangote’s refinery.

Georgieva highlighted the challenges associated with sourcing Nigerian crude, including insufficient supply, unreliability, and sometimes unavailability.

In contrast, US WTI offers reliability, availability, and competitive pricing, making it an attractive option for Dangote.

Nigeria’s struggles to meet its OPEC+ quota and sustain its crude production capacity have been ongoing for at least a year.

Despite an estimated production capacity of 2.6 million barrels a day, the country only managed to pump about 1.45 million barrels a day of crude and liquids in April.

Factors contributing to this decline include crude theft, aging oil pipelines, low investment, and divestments by oil majors operating in Nigeria.

To address the challenge of local supply for the Dangote refinery, Nigeria’s upstream regulators have proposed new draft rules compelling oil producers to prioritize selling crude to domestic refineries.

This regulatory move aims to ensure sufficient local supply to support the operations of the 650,000 barrel-a-day Dangote refinery.

Operating at about half capacity presently, the Dangote refinery has capitalized on the opportunity to secure cheaper US oil imports to fulfill up to a third of its feedstock requirements.

Since the beginning of the year, the refinery has been receiving monthly shipments of about 2 million barrels of WTI Midland from the United States.

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Oil Prices Hold Steady as U.S. Demand Signals Strengthening

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Crude Oil - Investors King

Oil prices maintained a steady stance in the global market as signals of strengthening demand in the United States provided support amidst ongoing geopolitical tensions.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, holds at $82.79 per barrel, a marginal increase of 4 cents or 0.05%.

Similarly, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude saw a slight uptick of 4 cents to $78.67 per barrel.

The stability in oil prices came in the wake of favorable data indicating a potential surge in demand from the U.S. market.

An analysis by MUFG analysts Ehsan Khoman and Soojin Kim pointed to a broader risk-on sentiment spurred by signs of receding inflationary pressures in the U.S., suggesting the possibility of a more accommodative monetary policy by the Federal Reserve.

This prospect could alleviate the strength of the dollar and render oil more affordable for holders of other currencies, consequently bolstering demand.

Despite a brief dip on Wednesday, when Brent crude touched an intra-day low of $81.05 per barrel, the commodity rebounded, indicating underlying market resilience.

This bounce-back was attributed to a notable decline in U.S. crude oil inventories, gasoline, and distillates.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a reduction of 2.5 million barrels in crude inventories to 457 million barrels for the week ending May 10, surpassing analysts’ consensus forecast of 543,000 barrels.

John Evans, an analyst at PVM, underscored the significance of increased refinery activity, which contributed to the decline in inventories and hinted at heightened demand.

This development sparked a turnaround in price dynamics, with earlier losses being nullified by a surge in buying activity that wiped out all declines.

Moreover, U.S. consumer price data for April revealed a less-than-expected increase, aligning with market expectations of a potential interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve in September.

The prospect of monetary easing further buoyed market sentiment, contributing to the stability of oil prices.

However, amidst these market dynamics, geopolitical tensions persisted in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and Palestinian factions. Israeli military operations in Gaza remained ongoing, with ceasefire negotiations reaching a stalemate mediated by Qatar and Egypt.

The situation underscored the potential for geopolitical flare-ups to impact oil market sentiment.

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Shell’s Bonga Field Hits Record High Production of 138,000 Barrels per Day in 2023

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oil field

Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) has achieved a significant milestone as its Bonga field, Nigeria’s first deep-water development, hit a record high production of 138,000 barrels per day in 2023.

This represents a substantial increase when compared to 101,000 barrels per day produced in the previous year.

The improvement in production is attributed to various factors, including the drilling of new wells, reservoir optimization, enhanced facility management, and overall asset management strategies.

Elohor Aiboni, Managing Director of SNEPCo, expressed pride in Bonga’s performance, stating that the increased production underscores the commitment of the company’s staff and its continuous efforts to enhance production processes and maintenance.

Aiboni also acknowledged the support of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and SNEPCo’s co-venture partners, including TotalEnergies Nigeria Limited, Nigerian Agip Exploration, and Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited.

The Bonga field, which commenced production in November 2005, operates through the Bonga Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, with a capacity of 225,000 barrels per day.

Located 120 kilometers offshore, the FPSO has been a key contributor to Nigeria’s oil production since its inception.

Last year, the Bonga FPSO reached a significant milestone by exporting its 1-billionth barrel of oil, further cementing its position as a vital asset in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

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